Mama mia! What a pizzeria!: It started as a bank nearly a century ago, now it’s a pizza parlor with plenty of pizzazz

The first floor features a zinc bar and an authentic Neapolitan pizza oven.

November 21, 2017 |

The 150-seat Lucille Pizzeria’s reclaimed wood flooring, arched windows, and 1930s-style chandeliers. The bank vault was turned into a lounge with a newly cut window, just in case the door got shut.

Lucille is a pizzeria with all the toppings. The flatiron-shaped building, in the downtown Capitol Square section of Madison, Wis., first served as an early 20th-century bank. Two local restaurateurs, Patrick Sweeney and Joshua Berkson, teamed with investor Urban Land Interests to buy the 9,340-sf building—most recently used as the offices of a newspaper—and make it into an hip, environmentally sound pizza parlor.

Design firm OPN Architects and contractor Ideal Builders examined historic photos and drawings of the building to determine its original features, which had been abused by a 1970s renovation. They gutted the interior, uncovering handsome brick masonry walls, rugged steel beams, a terrazzo floor, tall arched windows—even a nearly century-old mural painted on an adjacent wall welcoming the “new” Capital City Bank.

The first floor features a zinc bar and an authentic Neapolitan pizza oven. The owners wanted the kitchen to be open to the exterior as well as the interior, but the local health code forbade such a configuration, for fear of vermin infiltration. The designers came up with a solution that isolated the mechanical system to prevent pests from getting in. Sweeney and Berkson instituted operations standards that satisfied health authorities that unwanted visitors would not be welcome.

In the lower lounge, a bank vault was turned into seating for up to 40. The contractor cut an opening in the two-foot-thick reinforced concrete wall so that diners would be able to get out if the vault door was accidentally closed. Whew!

 

Photo: Mike Rebholz Architectural Photography.

 

Project Summary

 

Silver Award WInner

Building Team: OPN Architects (submitting firm, architect) Strategic Structural Design (SE) JDR Engineering (MEP) Ideal Builders (GC).

Details: 9,340 sf. Total cost: $1.3 million. Construction time: January 2015 to May 2016. Delivery method: Design-build.

 

See all of the 2017 Reconstruction Award winners here

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